Considering that we had to fly across the country to LA, we thought it a good idea to do two different cruises that left from the San Pedro port. It was very convenient that the Monarch of the Seas left the same day that we returned from our Mexican Riviera cruise on the NCL Star.
For once, we didn’t have to rush to the airport or to catch a train immediately after disembarkation, so we stayed on the ship as long as possible. We chose not to self-assist and haul our own luggage out as we usually do if that option is available. We packed and had all of our luggage outside by the required time and kept space in our carry-on for our last minute articles and toiletries.
Although we could have stayed in our room longer, we left so that our room steward could prepare it for the next cruise. We found a nice spot in the lounge from where we could see the long disembarkation line. When our color tag was called, we waited a few minutes and then headed to the spot where we had been directed. We should have waited even longer as the line was up the staircase. What poor planning this was. Surely, they could find a spot that didn’t involve stairs. The long line could have gone in some other direction, rather than up several flights of stairs.
In San Pedro, it was required that we go through immigration onboard the ship. The line moved slowly, but fortunately, we were in no hurry. After about 30 minutes in line, we reached immigration, which took just a short time. We left the ship, gathered our bags and turned right when we left the terminal. We headed to the other terminal to check-in for the Monarch of the Seas.
The folks at the terminal didn’t know the answer when we asked if there was a special line for Crown and Anchor members. There isn’t, unless you have achieved a higher status than we had. There definitely are certain advantages to having cruised enough to be able to use the shorter line. We didn’t really wait that long, but the line didn’t move too quickly.
Once we had registered, we went just outside and found an internet connection right outside the terminal. This is a convenience for the crew, but we took advantage of it, not expecting to find any other internet service nearby.
After returning to the terminal, we waited since they were not yet boarding. We proceeded into a line full of people who had obviously never been through security before. They had none of their documents ready, perhaps assuming that they let anybody through this line.
We put our things to go through the machine and got stopped by the attendant. They asked what was in our bag that looked like liquor. Well, it was liquor. We knew that Royal Caribbean doesn’t allow passengers to bring liquor onboard, but since we had bought this on the first cruise when we were in Mexico, we really didn’t have any choice but to bring it onboard. We had already told the people at registration that we had liquor with us and they assured us that they would confiscate it when we went through security.
They took our liquor and tagged it and returned it the last night of the cruise. At least, this time, we remembered that they were holding it. On the first cruise, we almost forgot to pick it up on the last night. It would be interesting to know how many other people like us have bad memories and forget to pick up their confiscated liquor. Although on that first cruise, our bottles were moved to the front desk, nobody called us or reminded us that we had forgotten to pick up our bottles.
Speaking of bad memories, Bugsy had put his cell phone in one of those round dishes when he went through security. He had some issues with setting off the machine, so was pulled aside. He remembered his belt and other items, but forgot the cell phone, which was in a different dish. While we were waiting to board the ship, a security woman was asking who forgot a cell phone. As we both wondered how somebody could forget their cell phones, Bugsy checked for his and realized that he had forgotten to pick it up. We are no longer permitted to ask how anybody could forget something at security. Well, that doesn’t count shoes. Once in Albany, an announcement came asking the person who forgot their shoes, cell phone and camera to return to security. Several of us laughed, but perhaps it would be somebody with questionable motives who would not remember that they had no shoes on their feet.
Once onboard, we went to our room, which wasn’t quite ready and asked our steward if we could leave our carry-ons in the closet. He was amenable and told us to be sure that our key worked. We then headed to the Windjammer for lunch. The formal dining room does not serve lunch on the first day or on others days.
More about this ship and trip next time.